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Thursday, 12 September, 2002, 21:00 GMT 22:00 UK
Tories offer 'giant slaying' pledge
Crime graphic
Crime is on Iain Duncan Smith's new hit list
Iain Duncan Smith is set to mark his first anniversary as Conservative leader by setting out the "five giants" which blight life in the UK today.

Failing schools, crime, sub-standard healthcare, child poverty and insecurity in old age hit the most vulnerable people worst, Mr Duncan Smith will say on Friday.

Tories' five giants
Failing schools
Below-par healthcare
Child poverty
Insecurity in old age
His speech is a deliberate echo of the "five giants" set out by William Beveridge, whose 1942 report laid the foundation for the welfare state.

That reference to the Liberal social reformer could prove controversial and Labour claims a "hard right agenda of cuts" lies beneath talk of compassionate Conservatism.

Mr Duncan Smith is not setting out any new policies but rather outlining the challenges against which his programme should be judged.

'Growing threats'

He will make the speech in an east London hall used by Beveridge, who named squalor, want, disease, ignorance and idleness as the five challenges of his time.

Tory officials say they are not drawing a direct comparison with Beveridge.

But just as Beveridge outlined challenges in the 1940s, Mr Duncan Smith wants to set out the problems facing British people in the 21st century.

Iain Duncan Smith
Duncan Smith wants a more caring Tory image
He will say: "I want to name the five giants that threaten the hopes and security of every person in Britain.

"Sadly for millions of vulnerable people throughout this country, these five giants have become more threatening over the last five years.

"The facts stubbornly show that you are most likely to be hurt by the five giants if you are poor, if you live in inner cities, if you are black, if you are very young or if you are very old."

Problem pupils

Mr Duncan Smith will stress the problems for the poorest areas but in fact affect every neighbourhood in the UK.

"Many children are being left behind because of the breakdown of discipline in schools," he will say.

"Fear of crime and drugs blights the leafiest and most prosperous neighbourhoods.

"A sub-standard health service fails families in every part of the country."

Labour Chairman Charles Clarke
Labour is taunting the Tories over a "wasted year"

Most children no longer experience the material poverty seen in Beveridge's time, Mr Duncan Smith will say.

But too many are "starved of love and security".

The speech will point also to the "crisis in care" for the elderly and the problems with providing decent pensions.

The Tories argue Labour have made such problems worse by trying to manage too much from the centre.

Mr Duncan Smith will argue the five giants can be toppled by "strengthening free society", not increasing the power of the state.

The Tory leader says he wants his detailed policies, when they emerge, judged on how they "help real citizens" - and he will name examples.

The Conservatives will use their annual conference next month to continue their efforts to appear a more caring party, in touch with popular concerns.

'Wasted year'

Labour used the anniversary of Mr Duncan Smith's leadership victory to rubbish that campaign.

The party dubbed "Friday the 13th" as the anniversary of a "wasted year for the Tories".

In a dossier of quotations from leading Tory politicians, Labour argues Mr Duncan Smith's real agenda is to "slash public services".

The Tories would support "privatisation" for the NHS, with people made to pay for their healthcare, says the party.

And Mr Duncan Smith has abandoned plans to match Labour spending plans for hospitals and schools, it claims.

See also:

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